XCOM: Enemy Unknown Second Wave DLC is free, due today

By Brenna Hillier
8 January 2013 06:07 GMT

XCOM: Enemy Unknown’s second DLC pack is a free pile of game-altering options available right now.

The DLC is available now via Steam, and should arrive on console networks with regional updates. It adds 16 new options when starting a new game, and although some are only available having proved your skill, all add an element of risk and challenge to an already tricky game.

  • Damage Roulette: Weapons have a wider range of damage.
  • New Economy: Randomized council member funding.
  • Not Created Equally: Rookies will have random starting stats.
  • Hidden Potential: As a soldier is promoted, stats increase randomly.
  • Red Fog: Combat wounds will degrade the soldier’s mission stats.
  • Absolutely Critical: A flanking shot guarantees a critical hit.
  • The Greater Good: Psionics can only be learned from interrogating a psionic alien.
  • Marathon: The game takes considerably longer to complete.
  • Results Driven: A country offers less funding as its panic level increases.
  • High Stakes: Random rewards for stopping alien abductions.
  • Diminishing Returns: Increased cost of satellite construction.
    Available only after completing the game on Impossible difficulty:
  • More Than Human: The psionic gift is extremely rare.
  • War Weariness: Funding goes down over time.
  • E-115: Elerium degrades over time.
  • Total Loss: Lose all soldier gear upon death.
  • Alternate Sources: The power source cost to build facilities increases dramatically

Firaxis has given several interviews (linked below) regarding the new DLC, which explain its decision to go with a free gameplay mechanic expansion rather than new story content like the first pack, Slingshot.

Speaking to Polygon, lead producer Garth DeAngelis said the new options are “for the fans” and were invented at regular play sessions during development. Firaxis didn’t have time to implement them before launch, but enjoyed them so much they pushed on post-release.

These additions are likely to have a profound effect on the game’s balance, and DeAngelis and the game’s director, Jake Solomon, admitted that they’ve taken a risk in potentially “toppling the tower” the development team took so long to build.

But the new options give a sense of “ownership”, the pair said, and as Solomon noted, purchasers “should be able to play however they want”.

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